Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Garmin Enduro GPS Watch Review: Long, Long Battery Life and Legibility!

Article by Canice Harte

Garmin Enduro ($800 Steel, $900 Titanium)


Introduction 

Arguably the primary reason to purchase the Enduro is it’s battery life. With 70 to 80 hours in GPS mode and 200 to 300 hundred hours in Max Battery GPS mode the Enduro can make it through most any endurance event. And if you’re out in the wilderness on an extended expedition the Enduro in Expedition GPS Activity mode can last 65 to 95 days.


The Enduro is of course loaded with incredible software and one of the coolest things is it that it also recharges via solar charging. This is why you see the broad range in reported battery life. The second number is if you max the solar charging. The first number assumes no solar charging.


Pros

  • Battery life up is the main reason to buy this watch and it is a massive “Pro”

  • The large screen is crystal clear and easy to read

  • I know this is subjective but the watch looks great and is comfortable to wear


Cons

  • No topo or road maps! Seriously, how did this happen? And in a $800-$900 watch. The comparable Fenix 6X Pro Solar (but $950) has maps

  • This is a big watch. It’s comfortable and looks great as mentioned above but undoubtedly this watch is big. I would be happy to give up the heart rate monitor to make it thinner.


Tester Profile

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons. He is the race director of the Twisted Fork 64K Ultra in Park City and is a member (and board member) of the Summit County (Utah) Search and Rescue team, a long time executive and entrepreneur in the outdoor industry and a former Reconnaissance Marine. 


Stats and Official Specs

Display size: 1.4” (35.56 mm) diameter

Weight: Steel: 71 g (case only: 65 g), Titanium: 61 g (case only: 55 g)

Display Size: 1.4” (35.66mm)

Display Resolution: 280 x 280 pixels

Battery Life:

Smartwatch: Up to 50 days/65 days with solar*
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 130 days/1 year with solar*
GPS: Up to 70 hours/80 hours with solar**
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 200 hours/300 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 65 days/95 days with solar*
*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions

First Impressions, Fit, Comfort 

 

The Enduro has a large face which I find easy to read at night or in sunlight and which I found to be comfortable on my wrist. I usually do not like heavier watches but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Enduro felt lightweight and slim.


I was immediately struck by the clarity of the screen and how easy it is to read the information.


The Enduro comes with a soft nylon velcro watch band which is good for reducing weight. For my part I am not sure how much I like this band. I feel like it’s going to come undone or that the watch band pins might pop out and I’d lose the watch. With that said I have worn the watch with the nylon band kayaking, climbing, running, during search and rescue missions and it’s never failed. The good news is if you prefer a silicone (I ordered one), or other band, the Enduro is 26mm Quickfit compatible which gives you a choice of a large selection of Garmin wristbands.


Battery Life

As mentioned before the battery is the star feature of the Enduro. One of the things you  give up to achieve are the on board topo and road maps features. 

While you can see a blue line that represents your track you only see a blank screen for the surrounding area and if you have loaded a breadcrumb map, the route ahead. Personally this is my only complaint. I feel like this is a significant miss but accept it to realize the extended battery life.


Solar charging works great and you can monitor its progress via the Solar Intensity feature on the watch. 

I so loved this feature I found myself keeping my sleeve rolled up to ensure the watch captured as much solar activity as possible.


GPS Accuracy and Altimeter


As part of my testing I traveled to Cortina, Italy with the Enduro and used it while climbing and exploring the Dolomite Mountains. I have also used the Enduro during the Wasatch 100 trail race and as a member of the Summit County, Utah Search and Rescue team where I wore the watch for every mission. I have also it kayaking and mountain biking and have found the watch to be incredibly accurate as far as GPS track and elevation.


The accuracy exception being the heart rate monitor. I have found the heart rate monitor to read so low that it is not usable while running so I now ignore this feature. In fact I would gladly trade it out to have the watch be thinner and to gain access to maps.


Other features of note 

A very cool new feature, assuming one likes adventure racing, is the “Adventure Race” mode which is allowed in the Adventure Racing World Series, which I participate in. This mode locks out the GPS features so you can not access them during the race yet still records everything. When the race is finished the RD unlocks the mode and can confirm you have not accessed your watch via the time and date the mode was activated. This combined with the extended battery life is the reason I went with the Enduro for this test.


Conclusion


Although I am obviously bummed to not have maps I actually love this watch. It’s “light”, comfortable, has lots of great features and the battery life is just what I was looking for. I would say if you don’t need quite as much battery life and want a big screen go with the Fenix 6X Pro with its on board topo and road maps and music storage.  If you need a lot of battery life the Enduro is your best choice. While close in standard full GPS mode battery life (80 hours Enduro vs. 66 hours, both with solar) the Enduro pulls away from the X in Max mode at 300 hours vs.120 hours with solar going on both.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

RUNNING WAREHOUSE
Garmin Enduro Available Now
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
AUSTRALIA Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
 
ROADRUNNER SPORTS
Garmin Enduro Available Now
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

FLEET FEET
Garmin Enduro Available Now

MOOSEJAW
Garmin Enduro Available Now

REI 
Garmin Enduro Available Now

AMAZON
Garmin Enduro Available Now



SHOPPING FROM EUROPE?
TOP4RUNNING 
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products
FREE Shipping on orders over 99, 30 days return policy, no questions asked.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE REVIEWS ON THE ROADTRAILRUN CHANNEL


Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


3 comments:

Mike P said...

Topo maps were a game changer for me - it was the main reason I upgraded from my Forerunner 935 to the Fenix 6 Pro Solar. I got mine back in January for $700, not sure what the 6X gets you for an additional $250 but the 6 has the maps and I find at least 36 hours battery life with full GPS, which is more than enough for long 100M races. Enduro sounded promising, but after hearing about the lack of maps, it wasn't an option for me.

I agree about the Optical HRM though - I would actually pay MORE if they offered a version without it. Never works for me, so completely useless. I would much prefer if the watch was slimmer and lighter.

Jeff Valliere said...

Interesting on the Solar, do you think on runs where you are getting full sun, or mostly sun, you are breaking even or even gaining charge? I have read in other reviews that state any gain from Solar is negligible, but am interested in more detail.

Agreed that omitting the maps is a bit problematic, seems like that would have just been a given, especially given the cost of this watch.

OHR, on most watches I have reviewed, I find it to be quite inconsistent, mostly useless really, but have actually had pretty reasonable readings from the Fenix 6S, but if I ever want anything truly reliable, I still add a strap (rare, as I just don't really care all that much any more, mostly though just for test comparisons).

Canice Harte said...

Mike, I agree with your assessment. For my part I participate in adventure races and now that there is Adventure Race mode and a battery than can last for a full 5 day race the Enduro makes sense. But for most anything else, especially running 100's the Fenix is the way to go.

Jeff, the solar charging is noticeable over time but I find you won't need it or really notice it for the first week. It's a great feature for long adventures. Imagine 30 days plus.